Comcast Offers to Be Your Nanny Cam With Xfinity Home Security
Comcast offers cable TV. Comcast offers high-speed Internet. Comcast offers long-distance telephone service. And now, Comcast offers its Xfinity Home Security package, complete with a nanny cam (or two, or three, or six) so you can see what’s happening in your house when you’re not there. After all, who wouldn’t want Comcast providing home video surveillance?
Over the weekend, I saw a commercial for the cable giant’s new Xfinity Home Security system for the first time. “What if you could see your kids get home safely, without actually being there?” asks the reassuring narrator as a peppy at-work mom watches her two young girls stroll through the door, all on her desktop monitor. The commercial goes on to promote other features, like 24/7 “central station” monitoring (of the alarm sensors, not the video feeds, thank goodness) and the convenience of controlling your lights and thermostat remotely. Comcast also touts a “rapid response” should an actual emergency arise, though I don’t imagine they’re offering a Domino’s-style guarantee if the cops take their good old sweet time.
The home video surveillance option is a $4.95/month add-on to the $39.95 preferred package, plus you have to buy the hardware from Comcast at $99.95 per nanny cam (I’m pretty sure you could buy the components at Radio Shack for $4.85), with a six nanny cam max. You’re also locked into a three-year contract that comes complete with a hefty cancellation fee, which starts at $1,100 and decreases by $100 per quarter. (And you thought that AT&T was bad.) If you don’t already use Comcast for Internet, you’ll have to sign up for that, too, since the Xfinity Home Security and the home video surveillance work via broadband. And no, you can’t use your existing Verizon high-speed line. The lady in customer service was quick to put the kibosh on that plan when I asked her about it.
I know that this is the way things are going and that one day, it won’t seem weird to have cameras monitoring our every move. And I’m sure that when my kids are teenagers, I may think that having an eye in the sky on them isn’t such a bad idea. If that day comes, maybe I’ll give Comcast a call. And hopefully they’ll throw in HBO for free for six months.